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Michael Brudon




Location: South Pacific
Joined: 21 Dec 2013

Posts: 107

PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2015 7:28 am    Post subject: any axe experts?         Reply with quote

Does anyone use portable sized hand axes for utility work or any sort of re enactment? I am trying to decide on a camp axe, partly for actual campsite/ utility work, but also in respect of any historical combat effectiveness.

I've limited my decision to sub 2 feet long axes in the 1-2lb head class and 3 examples I have considered would be these by cold steel.

1. http://www.coldsteel.com/Product/90AXG/AXE_GANG_HATCHET.aspx
2. http://www.coldsteel.com/Product/90N/NORSE_HAWK.aspx
3. http://www.coldsteel.com/Product/90FH/FRONTIER_HAWK.aspx

Thanks if anyone has opinions of the functional strengths and weaknesses between these types?
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,272

PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2015 9:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I suspect all of those are perfectly functional, but for any remotely *historical* use I wouldn't even look at anything from Cold Steel. You can get hand-forged tomahawks for less money:

http://jas-townsend.com/tomahawks-c-20_59.html

Skip the cast one at top, it's less historical and costs more! I've had two of the TH-54 types since the early 1980s, one sharp that I still cut kindling with, and the other blunt for (semi-choreorgraphed) medieval reenactment combat. They still work just fine! If you plan to hammer a lot of tent stakes, etc., I suspect the British Light Infantry Axe will be even better.

Townsend is a very respected sutler, by the way, for 2 generations. But if they don't have what you want in stock, try G. Gedney Godwin, Track of the Wolf, Avalon Forge, Crazy Crow Outfitters, etc. Products and prices will vary, but hand-forged camp axes are just too easy to find.

Have fun!

Matthew
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,221

PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2015 10:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I never used a cold steel axe, but I love to have small hand axes close to me when reenacting. I use them both for chores and fighting. They look very cool and practical, down to earth and I like fighting with them in a combination with a small heater shield. I mostly use slightly vintage axes made for either firemen or some carpenter versions, both of these have a nice small and light head and a small, simple hammer at the other end. Very practical.
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 945

PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2015 4:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another good maker not yet mentioned: Gränsfors Bruks. I particularly like their Swedish Viking Axe.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Eric W. Norenberg





Joined: 18 Jul 2008

Posts: 265

PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2015 12:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
Another good maker not yet mentioned: Gränsfors Bruks. I particularly like their Swedish Viking Axe.


Gränsfors Bruks makes some amazing axes indeed. They even feel like top quality just holding them in your hand, in the hardware store, employees watching you warily... Hmmm.
Their historical line also looks to be well researched. They are much more expensive than anything previously mentioned, but probably worth it for the level of quality and durability, if you mean to use it seriously and can justify the cost. A Gränsfors will outlast you if you don't do something neglectful to it.

What time period are you chasing after? Some tomahawk- type axes look plausible as fighters for earlier periods but are too small to really serve as a camp axe. But there are some axe types intended for light to medium duty tool usage that wouldn't be too heavy to fight with reasonably well.
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Gossart Pierre




Location: Belgium
Joined: 19 Mar 2013

Posts: 42

PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2015 12:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.adithiel.com/

another one , very good (I have one axe from him)
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Jeroen Averhals




Location: Flanders, Belgium
Joined: 16 Feb 2007
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 66

PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2015 1:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Cold Steel Viking Hand Axe doesn't look bad:
http://www.coldsteel.com/Product/90WVBA/Viking_Hand_Axe.aspx

Vigor et Veritas
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Michael Brudon




Location: South Pacific
Joined: 21 Dec 2013

Posts: 107

PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2015 1:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric W. Norenberg wrote:


What time period are you chasing after? Some tomahawk- type axes look plausible as fighters for earlier periods but are too small to really serve as a camp axe. But there are some axe types intended for light to medium duty tool usage that wouldn't be too heavy to fight with reasonably well.


Thanks for the replies all, I am checking out the inks.

Eric you pretty much nailed what I am after. The heaviest medium use camp axe that still suits as a fighter. The period/history, not to important, this is mostly for actual camp use. What sort of axe or more importantly what size and specs would one aim for in this regard?
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Eric W. Norenberg





Joined: 18 Jul 2008

Posts: 265

PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2015 8:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael, my current axe affair is one of these (one of the best Christmas gifts I've received, thank you son!)

http://www.counciltool.com/product.asp?pg=product&item=20HB28

A Council Tools Hudson Bay pattern axe, 2 lb head with 28" haft. They offer it with an 18" handle but that seemed like too much head weight for a hatchet, the longer (but not as long as a felling axe) haft makes it almost the axe / hatchet equivalent of a bastard or hand-and-half sword. Great with two hands, doable with one, choked up. I picked it out with the guiding principle of something that would work as an axe at home but still be a reasonable camp tool. Square poll on the back marks it as a tool, not a weapon, and the weight is more than you'd want for a dedicated fighter of the same size & reach, but... yeah, it's modern Viking material. Took very little work to get it shaving sharp, which is actually kinda scary when you think about the mass and concentrated impact. Made in USA and seems like pretty good quality so far. Not sure how hard these (or something like) will be to get down under.

When I get some time and work up the gumption, I'm going to polish off all the black paint, put a slightly less modern looking haft on it, and just maybe grind the head into a bearded profile, make it look a little more like an early builder's axe. I won't take too much mass out of it tho, I like the way it turns old Xmas trees into kindling.

-Eric
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Aaron Hoard




Location: Seattle, WA
Joined: 01 Sep 2009
Likes: 4 pages

Posts: 151

PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2015 10:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If we're talking medium camp axes, I'm rather fond of the Gransfors Bruk Small Forest Axe. I've used this axe for years and it does a lot of things well. Not an exceptional splitter, but it'll work. Just a handy, all-around axe. It could be put to use as a "fighter" if need-be.

http://www.gransforsbruk.com/en/products/fore...orest-axe/

One thing with these "boys axes" is that you've got to watch your shins. They're just the right length where a missed or glanced, two-hand chop can send it sailing back about shin height. A miss or glance with a longer axe might send it into the ground instead. Not a deal breaker, but something to consider.
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Eric W. Norenberg





Joined: 18 Jul 2008

Posts: 265

PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2015 11:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aaron Hoard wrote:

One thing with these "boys axes" is that you've got to watch your shins. They're just the right length where a missed or glanced, two-hand chop can send it sailing back about shin height. A miss or glance with a longer axe might send it into the ground instead.


Yes indeed! Or if the haft is a little longer, those glancing strokes come right at that bony knob on your ankle! You definitely have to think about safety with one of these, especially when using a lot of power.
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Ken Speed





Joined: 09 Oct 2006

Posts: 654

PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2015 5:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you're considering a Cold Steel Tomahawk to use as a tool the best two choices are the Trail Hawk and the Pipe Hawk. The Frontier Hawk and the Norse Hawk are too light and the Rifleman's Hawk is quite heavy.
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Michael Brudon




Location: South Pacific
Joined: 21 Dec 2013

Posts: 107

PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2015 7:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With the gransfors axes is the listed weight inclusive of the handle or for the head only?

Reason I ask is I am currently using a modern plastic handled medium axe for camp work which is 25" long and a 2lb head .

I'm looking to go slightly smaller for this one.
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Aaron Hoard




Location: Seattle, WA
Joined: 01 Sep 2009
Likes: 4 pages

Posts: 151

PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2015 8:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Weight is for the entire axe - including the handle. My SFA comes in at 2lb 0.8oz. - listed weight is 2lb.

Their Hunters's Axe is another one you might want to look at. Rounded poll, so I don't think it's as useful (to me) and it has a different angle for the bit. But, it's around the same size as the Small Forest Axe and lots of people like them.

Wetterlings is another axe maker that you might check. Similar quality to the Gransfors axes, but a little more affordable. (last I checked)

http://www.wetterlings.com/axes/
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Ken Speed





Joined: 09 Oct 2006

Posts: 654

PostPosted: Fri 13 Mar, 2015 6:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One of the things you need to be aware of with the Cold Steel tomahawks is that you really are not getting a finished tool, they are actually more like kits and will need some corrective work to be useful tools. The set screw is just an abomination and needs to be removed. The eye will need to be dressed with a file or with sandpaper wrapped around a dowel to allow the head and handle to fit together well.
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Michael Brudon




Location: South Pacific
Joined: 21 Dec 2013

Posts: 107

PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 2:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks all for the information and links!
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